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2nd Media Advisory, 227th AAS Meeting, Kissimmee, FL, 4-8 January 2016

23 December 2015

Dr. Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x116; cell: +1 857-891-5649

Six press conferences and a seminar for science writers are on the program for the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, 6000 West Osceola Pkwy., Kissimmee, FL 34746. This winter's AAS meeting takes place Monday-Friday, 4-8 January 2016, rather than the usual Sunday-Thursday, to avoid clashing with the New Year's Day holiday weekend. Social-media hashtag: #aas227.

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs); see details below.

Complimentary Press Registration

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and PIOs, as described on our press-credentials page. If you're not on our list of current press registrants and are planning to attend the meeting, please send an email message to AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg today with your name and media affiliation (or "freelance" if applicable). Upon confirming your eligibility, he'll send you the URL of an online registration form and the required press-registration code. The deadline for advance press registration is TODAY, 23 December 2015.

Onsite Registration & Badge Pickup

Upon arrival at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, preregistered press should proceed to the AAS registration area.

Badges may not be available before 3 pm EST on Monday, 4 January.

Reporters and public-information officers who need to register on-site should go straight to the AAS registration desk and ask for a press-registration form. You'll be asked to take it to the AAS press office (see next section) to have the form authorized by one of the AAS press officers, after which you may return to the registration desk to print your badge.

Press Office & Quiet/Interview Room

The AAS will operate a press office in Osceola 1 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center with working space, telephone, photocopier, printer, power strips, and Internet connectivity for reporters. Each registered journalist and PIO will have a mailbox there to receive all press releases distributed as hard copies at the meeting (most releases will be distributed only electronically).

Press-office staff:

We will also have a quiet/interview room, Destin 2, for use by press registrants. To reserve this room at a particular date and time, please fill out the sign-up sheet that will be posted on the door.

Press Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers

Briefings will be held at 10:15 am and 2:15 pm EST (UTC - 5 hours) each day Tuesday, 5 January, through Thursday, 7 January, and at 10:15 am on Friday, 8 January, in Osceola 2 & 3, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and Internet connectivity. (There is no press conference on Friday afternoon.) Briefing audio, slides, and video will be available live via webcast to accredited journalists unable to attend in person; online participants will be able to ask questions of the presenters via text chat with an on-site press officer as described below.

Following is the preliminary press-conference program, which is subject to change; some details are still being finalized. In [square brackets] under each speaker's name is the session or paper number(s) on which their presentation is based, where applicable.

All findings are embargoed until the time of presentation at the meeting. "Time of presentation" means the start time of the oral or poster session in which the paper will be given, or the start time of the corresponding press conference (if any), whichever comes first. See the complete AAS embargo policy for more information.

Note: All new discoveries are subject to confirmation by independent teams of scientists. Inclusion here does not imply endorsement by the American Astronomical Society. The AAS does not endorse individual scientific results.

Tuesday, 5 January, 10:15 am EST
Press Conference

Merger-Triggered AGN Activity as Traced by Dual and Offset AGN
Julia M. Comerford (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Chandra Studies a Massive, Erupting Black Hole
Eric M. Schlegel (University of Texas, San Antonio)

A New NuSTAR High-Energy View of the Andromeda Galaxy
Daniel R. Wik (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Determining the Mass of Kepler-78b with Nonparametric Gaussian Process Estimation
Samuel K. Grunblatt (University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy)

Tuesday, 5 January, 2:15 pm EST
Press Conference

Protostellar Multiplicity in Perseus Characterized by the VLA Nascent Disk and Multiplicity (VANDAM) Survey
John J. Tobin (Leiden Observatory)

The VLA Nascent Disk and Multiplicity Survey (VANDAM): Resolved Candidate Disks around Class 0 & 1 Protostars
Dominique Segura-Cox (University of Illinois)

Spitzer & WISE Find New Bow Shock Candidates from Runaway Stars
William T. Chick (University of Wyoming)

New Observations Directly Measuring the Full Continuous Sizes of High-Redshift Damped Lyman-α Systems
Jeff Cooke (Swinburne University)

Wednesday, 6 January, 10:15 am EST
Press Conference

Globular Clusters as Cradles of Life and Advanced Civilizations
Rosanne Di Stefano (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

The Asteroseismic Signature of Strong Magnetic Fields in the Cores of Red Giant Stars
Jim Fuller (Caltech)

Hubble & Spitzer Find Stars Similar to Eta Carinae in Other Galaxies
Rubab M. Khan (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Herschel & Hubble Observations of a Multiply Lensed Submillimeter Galaxy at z~3
Hooshang Nayyeri (University of California, Irvine)

Wednesday, 6 January, 2:15 pm EST
Seminar for Science Writers: Beyond Hubble & Webb

Presenters (TBD) will be drawn from the Tuesday poster session 147, "Instrumentation: Space Missions," and the Tuesday splinter meeting "The Next Leap in UV/Optical/NIR Space Astronomy."

Thursday, 7 January, 10:15 am EST
Press Conference: Science from SOFIA

Presenters (TBD) will be drawn from the Tuesday oral and poster sessions 320 and 336, respectively, "Science Results from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)"

Thursday, 7 January, 2:15 pm EST
Press Conference

Fermi Mission Sharpens Its High-Energy Vision
Marco Ajello (Clemson University)

Fingerprints of the First Stars: The Discovery of Possible Population III Remnants at Redshift 3.5
John O'Meara (St. Michael's College)

IDCS J1426.5+3508: The Most Massive Galaxy Cluster at z > 1.5
Mark Brodwin (University of Missouri, Kansas City)

A Receding Halo Substructure Toward Norma
Sukanya Chakrabarti (Rochester Institute of Technology)

Friday, 8 January, 10:15 am EST
Press Conference: Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV

Introduction to SDSS-IV
Michael R. Blanton (New York University)

SDSS IV MaNGA: Gradients in Recent Star Formation Histories as Diagnostics for Galaxy Growth and Death
Cheng Li (Caltech)

Spectroscopic Determination of Masses (and Implied Ages) for Red Giants
Melissa Ness (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy)

Now You See It, Now You Don't: The Disappearing Central Engine of the Quasar J1011+5442
Jessie C. Runnoe (Pennsylvania State University)

Remote Access to Press Conferences via Webcast

Journalists unable to attend the meeting in person may tune in to our briefings and the seminar for science writers streamed live on the Web. Since the webcast includes audio, video, and PowerPoint slides, you must have a broadband (high-speed) Internet connection to watch and listen. Also, your Web browser must have the free Adobe Flash plug-in.

The webcast also includes a chat window whereby remote participants may ask questions. We can’t guarantee that all questions received from webcast viewers will be asked aloud — it depends on how much time we have and how many questions we’re getting from onsite reporters.

AAS Press Conference webcasts:


  • Password: Contact AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg for the password, which is for journalists only. After the meeting, archived webcasts will be freely available publicly via our online archive.
  • Once the webcast window opens, press the Play () button.
  • Press the Open Chat Window button. You’ll be asked to enter your name; please use your real first and last names, not a cutesy Internet nickname.
  • You can resize the chat window and move it to any convenient position on your screen.
  • To ask a question, type it into the input box near the bottom of the chat window and click the Send button.

Press Reception: AIP Science Communication Awards

All AAS press registrants are invited to a reception celebrating the winners of the 2015 American Institute of Physics (AIP) Science Communication Awards on Wednesday, 6 January, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm in the press area. Refreshments will be served, but not in quantities that would spoil your appetite for the press dinner, which follows afterward (see next section).

We will be honoring Charles AdlerStephen NashAndrew GrantAnna Rothschild, and Greg Kestin for their award-winning science writing, through which they have helped enhance the public's understanding and appreciation of physics and related fields. Please join us to toast their accomplishments and to thank AIP for giving special recognition to outstanding efforts in communicating the wonders of physics and astronomy with the public.

AAS Press Dinner

Plans are afoot to follow the AIP press reception on Wednesday evening with a no-host press dinner at a restaurant in or near the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. Details will follow in a subsequent advisory.

AAS on Twitter

During the meeting, AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg will post announcements of interest to reporters on Twitter at @AAS_Press. Other AAS Twitter handles include @AAS_Office@AAS_Meetings@AAS_Policy, and @AAS_Publishing. Journalists (and scientists) tweeting from the meeting are encouraged to use the hashtag #aas227.

AAS Press-Release-Distribution Service

If you don't already receive astronomy-related press releases forwarded by email from the AAS Press Office, you should sign up now to guarantee that you receive future meeting advisories as well as electronic copies of all press releases issued during the meeting. To sign up for the AAS press-release-distribution service, for which there is no charge, please send an email to Rick Fienberg with your name, media affiliation, mailing address, and phone, fax, and mobile numbers; if you're a journalist (not a PIO), please also state that you will respect any publication embargoes. Only accredited journalists and PIOs are eligible to receive press releases forwarded by the AAS, as described on our press-credentials page.